Lightly butter 4 small ramekins. Heat the cream; when it is hot, spoon about 1 tablespoon into each ramekin and break an egg into the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spoon the remainder of the cream over the top of the eggs. Place the ramekins in a bain-marie of hot water, cover with tinfoil or a lid and bring to simmering point on top of the stove. Continue to cook either gently on top of the stove, or in a moderate oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas 4, about 12 minutes for a soft egg, 15 minutes for a medium egg and 18–20 minutes for a hard egg. Serve immediately.